Saturday, March 8, 2014

5 Steps to Letting Go

My previous post, Let Go of Control talks about how codependency (an intimacy issue) causes one to try to control and manipulate people and situations in life in order to make up for a deficiency in oneself. This post discusses How to Let Go and move on to a more fulfilling life.

Letting go. Sounds easy, doesn't it? But sometimes letting go is the hardest thing to do. I've spent a lot of time healing and that requires letting go in heavy doses. What does it mean to let go? That's what I'd like to explore. Stay with me here.

Detachment is letting go. Trouble with detaching and letting go is something that codependents have in common. In a way, I think the root of codependency is the inability to let go of things that are outside of your control. Once you begin to heal, detachment becomes necessary and thankfully, with healing, letting go gets easier.  

Here are 5 Steps to Letting Go:

Step 1. Face Reality

If you find yourself hooked on someone, something or some outcome and having difficulty letting go and moving on, the first thing you need to do is face reality. Facing reality means that you look at the situation in its entirety, from broad perspective. You tell yourself the truth. You stop deluding yourself. You stop telling yourself that the person you're hung-up on really loves you--and start facing the fact that it doesn't matter who loves you if they're not giving you what you deserve.

Facing reality means facing that the guy you're in love with doesn't love you and that is okay. You can't wish something into being. There is no magic potion that will make things be exactly as you want it to be. You can't control other people. You don't need to. All you can do is face what's really happening in your life. You can't heal what you don't face.

Step 2. Grieve Your Loss

Any time you lose something in life, you need to grieve in order to heal and move on. When you have codependent tendencies, chances are you have things you need to grieve from your childhood that never healed. Oft times we hold onto people today who remind us of those who didn't meet our needs when we were little developing children. It's important to grieve all losses; to allow yourself to grieve fully. If the situation is tiny, you may only need to grieve a little. If the situation is big, you may need to grieve buckets of emotion. Holding onto pain is what you're doing when you don't go through the grieving process.

Grieving is the process of mourning your loss. It involves sadness, self compassion and tears. Holding onto someone or some desired outcome means that you won't allow yourself to grieve the loss. Grieving is hard and it hurts; sometimes we avoid this process and pretend things are not the way they really are. It's wise and self loving to go ahead and face your losses and grieve for what you no longer have, or in the case of deep inner healing, to grieve what you never had.

Grief has 5 different phases. It's what you feel when someone dies. That same process should be gone through when you have any loss in your life, or else you hold onto the pain of the loss and carry it around with you indefinitely. Better to get it over with. Be kind to yourself and allow yourself to go through the grieving process. Release the pain (negative emotion) so you can move forward and find meaning in life.  

Step 3. Process the Situation

Anyone who tells you to just move on is not being sensitive to your needs. As an emotional being, it's critical to process the situation in the proper light. You need to figure out what you think as a result of this loss. What are you telling yourself? 

Perhaps you are criticizing yourself for the loss. If you are abusing yourself through self criticism, this can cause even more pain for which you need to grieve. You need to come to terms with what's really going on and put everything in the proper category; in the right light. The friend who hurt you does not indicate that you are unworthy, it simply means that he or she is incapable of being sensitive to your needs. Or, the rejection you experienced has nothing to do with your worth at all. You are valuable, incredible and you have a huge life ahead of you. It's important to reframe the situation in a way that is self loving and based in the truth of who you are.

You may need a friend to talk to about the situation. Find someone supportive who will listen as you process rather than trying to offer solutions or shut you up. Processing loss is vital; you don't want to gloss over the thinking you have to do. Failing to process is like shutting down your computer without exiting out of all the open programs--it messes you up.

Step 4. Lean on Higher Power

Letting go and detaching is difficult if you are not tapped into your higher power, that is, God within you. You must be willing to go higher and ask God for help, and to allow that help to penetrate your daily life. You are loved more than you can imagine. Everything is working out for your good. Life is good to you and for you. You can trust that what you are letting go of is not needed for you. You can trust that everything that you need will come and that which you don't need won't stay. Trust that all is well and that what you don't have you don't need.

Step 5. Replacement

Lastly, once you've processed the real issue for what it is, reframed it and released the negative emotion through grief, you can work on the surface of the problem, and that is your thinking. If you are codependent in any way, you likely have habitual thoughts that are codependent in nature. In order to break out of the pattern of clinging to what's not yours, or holding onto what's no longer in your life, you have to replace those thoughts with better ones more conducive to your good.

Replacement is about filling up your thought life with thoughts that are beneficial to you. Codependents have a tendency to focus on other people. If you want to detach, you need to attach to something else--and that something needs to be YOU. Replace repetitive, compulsive thoughts that have you stuck with thoughts that serve to better Yourself. Detach outside, bond inside. Replace thoughts about others with thoughts about Yourself.

Replacement may involve self soothing, positive self talk, or it may involve getting busy with your own life, hobbies or career. You don't want to replace too soon--you must process, grieve and face reality--if you want to move forward as a whole healthy person. Once you're ready, you can begin to replace the old stuff that's moving out of your life with new stuff that's good for you.

Please note: You don't want to replace the old with more of the same. In the processing process, you LEARN FROM THE PAIN OF LETTING GO and start fresh with new knowledge, making better decisions along the way. Replacement is not repetition. Replacement is climbing the stairs; replacement is going higher to a better, stronger you.


I hope this article is helpful. I've learned to detach in my life in things both big and small. My inner self, my inner guide helps me through the process. I constantly remind myself of what's mine to keep: ME, and what's mine to release: Not Mine. Letting go, releasing and detaching is a psychologically healthy thing to do and will bring much peace and joy to your life. Letting go and learning why what you were holding onto is not beneficial is an act of self love that is very hard at first, but gets easier with practice. Letting go honors Yourself and builds you up. You will be surprised to see how strong you are once you trust your higher power and let go of the need to cling and control.

Much love to you, my friend. XO

1 comment:

  1. Thank you, with all my heart, for taking the time to write these healing articles and making them available. (Gratitude flowing from me to you for this.)